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Survivor's Story

James’ Story

We had moved to the Midlands from the South when I was 18 months old. With just my mum and my brother Adam. We finally got our new build home. I remember this time being very exciting, I remember going to see the house from the outside and looking over the fence wishing our garden was as big as next door’s. Turned out that the builders had put the wrong numbers on the doors. And the big garden was ours! and we had been viewing our neighbours house and garden.

Everyone started to move into the new homes, everybody was new and so many families. It was one of them streets where everyone walked in and out of people’s houses and everyone knew everyone.

After a while our next door neighbour would look after me. He had a step daughter which I was friends with so I was there a lot. He would treat me to sweets and chocolate along with days out to swimming baths as long as he could do things to me. He used to say things like you won’t get to see me if you tell anyone. One vivid memory I have of the abuse is at the swimming baths. I look back and think how did nobody know what he was doing in that cubicle. I took great pleasure when it closed, it is now flats. I still avoid the road if I can. For the next couple of years the abuse continued.

October 2000 we were all about to go on a big family holiday to Gran Canaria. My mum received a phone call just hours before we were due to fly. It was my brother. He had been in hospital a couple of weeks before with a large bump on his head from school. And after tests they needed to go to the city hospital. I remember being sat outside the hospital. Mum came out and said that we couldn’t go on holiday because Adam is too poorly, he was diagnosed  with leukaemia. And doctors said if he got on that flight the chances are he would of got off at the other end. Not going on holiday truly broke me, I remember sitting there hating my brother. I needed this break after 2 years of abuse. I obviously  didn’t understand. It was far from his fault. Around this same time my abusers  relationship  broke down and he moved over the road into my best friend’s house. The abuse continued he would offer to look after me while mum was in the hospital trying to save my brother. He took full advantage  of the situation.

Around a year later, I was in school at lunch and sat with a school friend. I was due to stop over at my best friend’s house. I told I hope this doesn’t happen. I don’t like it.. being a 7 years old, she knew it was wrong. She told her mum and her mum told the school.

I was at my abusers house playing crash bandicoot  and I was called over home by my mum and there were 2 CID women in the kitchen. They asked me if anything had happened the previous  night I had stayed at my friends. I said no as I was so used to this abuse I didn’t even know that is what they meant. I went back over and was called back later on by mum who sat me down and said has he ever done this etc. I remember when I told her her face said it all she broke down like nothing I had seen before. I was then taken for an examination and an interview . I remember mum saying that i had got him. My statements were so innocent and things I was only 7 so I just told the truth.

 For the next couple of days the wanted to gain all evidence so he wasn’t arrested. I wasn’t allowed to go to school. And we would watch him taking the kids on the street including my best friend. He was arrested and charged. I remember feeling sad I couldn’t see him anymore as child. As adult is so hard to get your head around.

He didn’t admit it at the beginning but he ended up pleading guilty. He was give a 3 and 7 year sentence  but served the 7 as they started at the same time. 

As I become a teenager I started to realise I was gay. This was such a confusing time. How could I be gay when what happened to me? People will think I enjoyed it or asked for it? At around 16 I started to hit the drink bad. I eventually came out at 17 and nobody said that. And realising I was 3 years old, who would think that. However at the time it didn’t stop me feeling that way.

I used alcohol a lot to numb all these feelings I had. I would meet strangers in stupid situations. At 19 I got into my first serious  relationship. Drinking and my issues still making up a big part of my life. I would get drunk and push everyone away. I was then cheated on. This was then the start of jumping from rubbish relationship to rubbish relationship. 

Within days of splitting with one I’d go into town and find another this continued for a good few years bouncing back between exes. And they were all people with there own issues. It was like I’d try to fix them. But nobody was helping  me fix mine apart from a bottle of vodka.

In 2017 life took it toll and I had the biggest breakdown of my life. I moved away paid for therapy. Now with my partner of nearly 4 years. Life is okay, you know. Obviously it has its up and downs. And there is light at the end of any dark place.

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